Shelley Brooks, PhD, is a program coordinator for the California History–Social Science Project, developing professional learning and teaching resources for K–12 teachers. In this article, she reflects on coordinating environmental literacy summer institutes, which promoted environmental education for both teachers and students.
Environmental literacy and social justice are inextricably linked, and recent changes in California’s curricula fully encourage pedagogical exploration of this linkage. A school district representative, a teacher, and a student share their perspectives about the intersection of environmental literacy and social justice.
I believe that it is our duty as educators to respond to the preponderance of evidence that has mounted, which paints a picture of a rapidly changing environment and a potentially very different socio-political future, by adapting our preschool–college instructional programs to be more reflective of that future and its predicted reality, and that prepares them for life in a world affected by human-caused climate change.
Dr. Faris Sabbah reflects on his participation in a panel discussion about implementing environmental literacy programs across four California counties. By engaging stakeholders to compare strategies, they can learn from and incorporate each other’s approaches to support students’ environmental learning. Continue reading to learn more about Santa Cruz County’s commitment to equity, San Mateo’s environmental youth leadership network, San Joaquin’s watershed and environmental stewardship, and Orange County’s Inside the Outdoors program!
The history of this place, and the story of what Ms. Chan and the district are doing to provide effective student-centered learning are inexorably intertwined, and illustrate another instance of how district-level support, committed educators, and community partnerships—working in concert with a place itself—enhance student engagement and support student success. Environmental literacy is woven throughout their innovative strategy to serve their students.
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